Was my Ancestor Insane or Did They Have Encephalitis?

5 blog post imageWas my ancestor insane or did they have encephalitis?

I have been researching into the death of my great great grandmother that died in 1911 at the Taunton State Hospital in Massachusetts.  Her cause of death was listed as “general paralysis.”  After researching into the hospital and the classification of her death in the previous post it is easy to first conclude that she was “insane” or had a mental instability.  The Taunton State Hospital was originally named the State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton before the name was made more PC and her cause of death falls into the category linked with the “insane” classification.

But wait, this ancestor of mine was not committed to Taunton until she was about 43 years old.  In the course of her life she was married, left England to come to American, and had at least seven children.  This doesn’t sound like a woman that did not have all of her wits about her.  Look at the cause of death classifications in Part 2 of this post; I found that they both list different forms of encephalitis along with general paralysis in the neurological category.

I have come to the conclusion that my ancestor most likely contracted a virus that caused encephalitis which led to her general paralysis and eventual death.  At the time, 1911, encephalitis was not well understood or for that matter easily tested for. So you may be wondering what exactly is encephalitis?  Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain that is caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.  The symptoms associated with viral encephalitis include but are not limited to:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Eventual Coma

Symptoms may occur within 2 days of infection or as late as 2 weeks after infection.  How does one contract a virus that causes encephalitis?  There are many different types of vectors which are living organisms, such as mosquitos, that transfer diseases from human to human or from animal to human.  I believe my ancestor could have contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) from a mosquito.  I find this scenario to be probable due to the current occurrence of EEE in the state of Massachusetts as compared to the rest of the United States.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Technical Fact Sheet:  Eastern Equine Encephalitis, EEE is commonly found around the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.  The states with the most frequent occurrence in 2016 were:  Massachusetts, New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida.

Below is a map of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus neuro-invasive disease average annual incidence by county, 2004-2013 from the CDC.  I find it pretty interesting that there is a high incidence of EEE just south of the Boston area of Massachusetts.  My great great grandmother lived most of her life in Fall River, Massachusetts before being placed in the Taunton Hospital.


The take away from all of this is to “investigate” every piece of evidence you find.  Don’t take everything at face value when researching your ancestors.  Look deeper for the hidden stories.  Does this prove that my great great grandmother died from EEE?  No, not really, but it does shed doubt on her original classification of death.

Please leave me your comments below and as usual keep a look out for my upcoming post.

How to Understand the Cause of Death Listed on a Death Certificate Part 2

Understand Cause of Death Part 2

How to Understand the Cause of Death Listed on a Death Certificate Part 2

In Part 1 of this 2 part series I explained how to understand the cause of death also referred to as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code listed on your ancestor’s death certificate.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) grew from the Bertillon classification system, there have now been 10 revisions since its original instatement.  So how did the ICD come into existence?  The city of Paris’ Chief Statistician, Jacques Bertillon propelled the need for uniform disease classifications in 1853.  By 1891, the International Statistical Institute (ISI) convened in Vienna and accepted Bertillon’s statistical list created to categorize the cause of death.  Jacques Bertillon later chaired the 1893 ISI Chicago meeting where he presented three lists.  One list cited 44 conditions (that caused death), the second list had 99 conditions, and the other list had 161 conditions.  Each condition had its own subdivision broken down and designated by an alphabetical letter.

You can take a look at the three lists or nomenclatures in the book Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death, on page 13.  He list well known diseases such as small pox, measles, and scurvy to the more obscure such as glanders and farcy, scrofula, Bright’s disease, Pott’s disease, white swellings, and metritis.  Pages 18 to 33 give definitions to many of the diseases listed in “nomenclature three.”

I was able to even place one of my ancestor’s death certificates in better context after looking up the cause of death in Bertillon’s book published in 1899.  Below is a screen shot of my ancestor’s death certificate from 15th July 1911.  Her place of death is listed as the Taunton State Hospital in Taunton, Massachusetts.  The cause of death is General Paralysis.  I found this death certificate to be curious so I started researching the Taunton State Hospital for this time period.

Annie Albin Death Cert

I found that the hospital was originally called the State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton and it was established in 1854.  The older parts of the building were demolished in 2009.  I also came across some hauntingly beautiful photos that can be found over at Abandoned America taken by Matthew Christopher.

I wanted to know more about this ancestor’s life and if she truly was someone that should have been placed in a lunatic asylum, so I looked her cause of death up in the 1899 Bertillon book and the Manual of the International List of Causes of Death Second Revision, Paris, 1909.  Remember from the previous post the second revision covers years 1910 to 1920.

The Bertillon Classification of Causes Of Death page 22

  • General Paralysis is listed as number 45 in the third nomenclature column. “ #45.     General Paralysis includes: general paralysis of the insane; paralytic insanity; paralytic dementia; paralytic cachexia; paralytic marasmus; diffuse-meningo encephalitis; diffuse periencephalitis.”

Manual of the International List of Causes of Death Second Revision, Paris, 1909, page 76:

  1. “General Paralysis of the insane: Alcoholic paralysis, Bayles’s disease, Chronic alcoholic paralysis, Dementia paralytica, Diffuse meningoencephalitis periencephalitis, General alcoholic paralysis, General paralysis (insane), Imbecile paralysis, Paralysis of insane, Paralytic cachexia, Paresis, Paretic dementia, Progressive dementia”

Both classifications do give more insight into this time period.  It is curious that encephalitis is listed with both of the general paralysis of the insane.  I believe it is more probable that my ancestor had contracted encephalitis and was not truly “insane” as the classification could lead one to believe.

Please keep on the lookout for my next post where I will discuss encephalitis and how the term “General Paralysis” could have been easily misinterpreted for “insane.”  Also please leave me your comments below.

How to Understand the Cause of Death Listed on a Death Certificate Part 1

How to understand Cause of Death Listed on Death Cert

“Death really is just a number, the International Classification of Diseases number.”

Sometimes when we find a Death Certificate we just find more questions.  Maybe the handwriting is not legible or the informant was a hospital worker. Yeah, like you’re gonna get any hard facts from the hospital worker that so thoughtfully asked about who your ancestor’s parents were.  If you are lucky, sometimes (depending on the year) you can get a hold of a death certificate that has the cause of death and a numerical code written all catawampus in the cause of death field.  The code or number is referred to as the International Classification of Diseases.  We are currently on the 10th revision so you may see people refer to it now as the ICD 10 code.

Looking this number up can give you more insight into the cause of death of your relative when you are performing genealogy research.  I’ve included an example below for more detail.  So what is the International Classification of Diseases and how did it come into existence?

The ICD codes were designed to create international uniformity for healthcare workers when they have to collect, process, classify, and present mortality statistics.  But we must go a little deeper down the rabbit hole and ask, “Why are death certificates so important?” “Or more so why must we keep track of disease classifications and death registrations?” Simply put, we must keep track of reoccurring epidemics.  Recall any of the historical cholera, plague, yellow fever, malaria, and small pox epidemics? Yeah, lets try and prevent those from happening again J

Death registration in the United States was mirrored after the English Registration Act of 1837.  Massachusetts was the first state to enact the registration law in 1842.  More states started to follow suit and by 1855 the American Medical Association pushed for more states to create offices specifically for the registration of vital events.  By the time 1900 had rolled around there were about 10 states that had complied with the U.S. Death Registration Area so they were able to start compiling the yearly mortality statistic reports.  By 1933 all states were on board with registration.

The ICD has been revised ten times, below is a list of revisions in relation to the years they apply to.  So if you have a death certificate from 1958 you’ll want to look into the ICD7.

Revision   Years
1st 1900-09
2d 1910-20
3d 1921-29
4th 1930-38
5th 1939-48
6th 1949-57
7th 1958-67
8th 1968-78
9th 1979-98
10th 1999-present

But what about before the 1900s in the United States, how can one understand that messy handwriting or the very archaic disease classification? Stay tuned for part 2 of this post.  Below is the example I promised.

I’ll use one from my family tree as an example.  My relative died 2 April 1955 on Highway 91 North Salt Lake, Utah in a motor vehicle collision.  The death was ruled an accident and the death certificate was filled out in depth so I really had no reason to look up the ICD code (see that letter and four digit number written in pencil below) yep E8161 is the ICD code used in this case.

Death Cert example

An easy way to look this code up is to go to HIPPASpace for ICD9 and ICD10 searches. The link will take you to the ICD9 version which occurred way after my relative’s death but it is still a useful quick link.

Type the code: E8161 in the “any search query” box and click Search.

The results that were returned back to me were:

ICD 9 example

So see here that the ICD9 code states that this accident occurred without a collision which I KNOW a collision with a truck did occur, so if I wanted more information I would look up the ICD6 for the correct year.

The http://www.wolfbane.com/icd/index.html website is another great resource for looking up the outdated codes.  Just follow the link and select ICD6, 4 digit code (because this is what correlates with my ancestor’s death certificate).  Search by using short cut keys “Crt and F” for control find.  Type in the code that is on the death certificate “E816” and search.

You should see this list:

ICD6 list

Please keep an eye out for part 2 of this series and as always leave me a comment below.

How to Order the SS-5 Form in 10 Easy Steps

How to order the ss-5 form image

How to Order the SS-5 Form in 10 easy steps

Have you ever wondered how to move another generation back in your family tree?  Have you tried obtaining your ancestor’s SS-5 Form application?  The social security number was created in 1936 to help track how much money people were making.  If the ancestor you are trying to move past was alive and working during this time period, odds are they applied for a social security number by completing the SS-5 application.  You can find a great deal of first-hand information off of your ancestor’s SS-5 application—like their parent’s actual names!

I have been tackling brick walls left and right for my own family tree so I decided to try my luck with one of my husband’s ancestors.  My husband’s great grandfather was William Henry Bullard born 11 March 1903 in Waynesboro, Wayne, Mississippi, but the line stopped here.  William died 10 April 1961 in Mobile, Alabama.  I had found his marriage record but of course it did not mention who his parents were; I did at least get a year for the marriage, 17 September 1927.  So I know he was out of his parents’ house at this point.

I started looking through U.S. City Directories to help create a timeline for William.  The 1924 directory listed William living on L.H. Bullard Street in Mobile, Alabama.  I did a google map search of the street but came up with nothing.  I thought it was odd that the street was the same as his last name.  The Alabama, Deaths and burials Index listed William’s father as L. H. Bullard and mother as Mary Saxton.  Curious right.  Next stop—the U.S. Social Security Death Index where I obtained William’s social security number.

Once you obtain your ancestor’s social you can apply for their SS-5 to be sent to you.  I’ll walk you through the steps below.  Please note that because William would technically be 114 years old I did not need to send any confirmation of death forms.

Step 1:  Obtain your ancestor’s social security number.

Step 2:  Go to the government website https://secure.ssa.gov/apps9/eFOIA-FEWeb/internet/main.jsp

Step 3:  Select “Photocopy of Original Application for a Social Security Card” and fill out the form as best you can.  Click “Submit” at the bottom of the page.

SS-5 image 1

Step 4: Click “Pay Now”

Step 5: Enter payment info

ss 5 image 2

Step 6:  Select Continue with plastic card payment

Step 7:  Have email confirmation sent to you

ss 5 image 3

Step 8:  Click Submit Payment (only once)

Step 9: Save Tracking number

Step 10:  Wait 20 working days then follow upJ

This is what was sent to me- I now have his father’s full name and his mother’s maiden name 🙂  If you guys want more post like this just leave me a message below.

William H Bullard SS5 Form2

New Mexico Indian Agent William F. M. Arny and the 1870 Census

I recently got my hands on a copy of William F. M. Arny’s journal.  Arny was an Indian Agent that just so happened to perform the enumeration for the Nambe Pueblo Reservation my great great grandfather lived on.  His name first caught my attention when I was scouring over every part of the 1870 census record.  He had written his name as W.F.M. Arny Special Agent in a very bold script.  His name and style stood out to me so I started to investigate him and what an Indian Agent did during 1870.  Learning about Arny also helped clear up my double census record issue I had for my great grand father in 1870.
The federal government first enacted Indian Agents in 1793 under the Second Trade and Intercourse Act. The job of the Indian Agent was to guide the Indians into assimilation and to settle conflicts between Indians and citizens.
As I researched who Arny really was, I came across a reference that mentioned he had written a journal during his time in New Mexico so I searched WorldCat to see if I could find a copy.  No such luck in finding one locally but I was able to get a copy on inter-library loan.  Arny kept the journal from May to September 28th during his time as the Indian Agent to New Mexico in 1870.  He updated his log daily and every now and then he would make mention of an Indian’s name he had interacted with.  At first I was reading the journal to try and find the day he performed the enumeration on my great great grandfather’s reservation, just to see what daily life was like, and secretly hoping he mentioned Antonio Lujan’s family.  But then I decided to extract any passages that specifically mentioned an Indian by name.  I hope that others researching the indigenous people of New Mexico find this information helpful.
Indian Agent in New Mexico: the journal of special agent W. F. M. Arny, 1870.
p.17 May 26th
Sabatur, the head chief of the Ute bands said he wanted their country also.
p.21 May 26th
Left camp on the Rio Los Pino and was overtaken by Joseph a Wemenuche Indian who swam the Rio Las Animas.  He said the Wemenuche on the Plata, Mancos, and Dolores rivers said they do not want to fight.
p. 23 May 28th
Here we were met by Curmvotche and Ignacio who were with 21 lodges of Capote and Wemenuche Utes.
p. 26 June 8th
Spent the morning in an enumeration with the jemes Pueblo, there are 344 persons only 4 can read and write.  In the afternoon we traveled to the Indian village of Zia on the Jemes River.  A total of 121 souls live and one can read and write.  There are 6 Albinos at Jemes.
p. 27 June 10th
Traveled to San Mateo a Mexican town of 51 families.  Here resides Ramon Baca whose father, three brothers, and 2 nephews were killed at one time by Navajoes.
p. 28 June 13th
Reached Fort Defiance Indian Agency, Navajo agency.
p. 29 June 17th
Met Cabeson, Powarie, Hijo Cabeza Blanco who with nearly 3,000 Wemenuches are on the Rio Plata (Silver River).  After taking an enumeration of them they said “they wanted their agency at Rio Los Pinos as Abiquiu was too far off.
p.30 June 21st
Passed down the mountain to “Chapel Peak” and passed by “Red Lake,” “Black Lake,” and “Grants Peak” to the road to Fort Defiance.  Traveled 27 miles today and spent 2 hours on Red Lake hunting rubies [garnets], which are thrown up on ant hills.
p. 30 June 22-23rd
Spent the day at Fort Defiance talking with Navajo.
p.31 June 24th
Left Fort Defiance in company with rev. J. M. Roberts, my interpreter, herder, and Pino a navajo chief, as guide.
p.31 June 25th
Reached Zuni village there were 1,530.  There are 21 orphan children and only one can read and write.  They would like a teacher. $1200.00 a year to sustain a person who would teach these people practical farming and start an English school for their children.  Boys 156, girls 177, total 333.  These Indians have no title to their land.  Congress establishing a reservation where they are and to give them little to a sufficient amount of land.
p.32 June 28th
At Fort defiance met 20 Indians from Moqui [Hopi] villages in Arizona.  There are 7 villages of these Indians, viz:  Oraiva, Tho-mon-pa-vi, Tano, Ci-cho-mo-pi, Mi-shom-qu-na-vi, and Sha-pan-lavi.  They number 1,560 Indians, none can read or write.
p. 33 June 30th
The Navajos live in Hogans, huts built of mud and bushes.  Found Estufas places of worship in the village of the Pueblo Indians.
p.35 July 3-4th
At Fort Defiance met Augua Grande whose camp and people are at “Mesa de los Calabasas” ( Table Land of the Pumpkins).  He has 1,000 Navajoes with him.
p. 36 Aug 2nd
Pueblo of Tesque and enumerated the Tesque Indians.  In the village there are 98 persons, 3 of whom can read and write.
p.37 Aug. 3
Took census of the Pojuaque Indian village.  This pueblo has a population of 32 persons which 2 can read and write.  On the lands of the Pueblo are 39 citizens.  The Indians said these citizens have lived there ever since the Governor can remember, and before he was born, and they are willing to allow them to remain and hold the land as it was sold to them by the Indians, except Juan Ortiz, who has taken land from them by force.
Traveled 4 miles and took the census of the Pueblo of Nambe.  Like the Pueblo of Pojuaque they are willing to let the Mexicans that occupy land keep them.  They have always got along peaceably and will endeaver to continue so.  In this pueblo there are 78 persons, 36 children.  Only 1 Indian can read and write, they would be glad to have a school.
p.37 Aug 4-5th
Spent these 2 days enumerating the citizens on the lands of the Pueblo of Pojuaque and Nambe.
p. 37 Aug 6th
Engaged in enumerating the people on the pojuaque reservation and reached Quayam Munge [Cuyamunge].  The ruins of the old Pueblo village is on a creek between Tesuque and Pojuague.  In 1598 the Indians deserted it and the Spanish took possession of it.  The land was afterwards included in the survey of the Pojoaque grant.  The present inhabitants are descendants of the Spainards, who took possession after its desertion by Indians.
Acoma, an enumeration of whose citizens I also took being part of the Pojoaque reserve, as surveyed by the U.S.  also a deserted village and taken by the Spaniards.  All these landson all the Pueblo reservations and grants, occupied in this way, or by sale from the Indians, should be secured by an act of Congress to the citizens who have occupied them for years.  Took enumeration of Indians at Ildefonso contains 156 Indians, total of 373 citizens.
p.41 Aug 11th
Traveled to Pueblo of Santa Clara.  Theyhave had school every winter for 4 years, paid the teacher themselves.  Consequently they have 11 children who can read and write a little in Spanish.  Population 189 Indians; There are 448 citizens on this reservation.
 p. 42 Aug 12th
Feast day at Santa Clara. Met GreatChinecha and his squaws, Jicarilla Apaches.
p. 44 Aug 23rd
met with Pueblos of Picuris Padre Medina the Roman Catholic Priest.
p.46 Aug 31st
Mohuache Ute 497
Jicarilla Apache 864
p.47 Sept 5th
Village of Taos,  Red Willow Pueblo Indians, 397 souls, not one can read or write.  They want a school for 159 children.
South to Apaches
p.48 Sept 17th
Left Abiquiu and traveled to San Juan, 20 miles.  Met a Jicarilla Apache with his family, asked his name, answered, “Quien Sabe.”
p.49 Sept 28th
Rode to Pueblo of Cochite.  There are 243 Indians in this pueblo of which 97 are children, only 3 persons can read and write.  Manuelito Herrera 89 years old, went to Old Mexico in 1816 to get a decision in regard to citizens on their lands.  The Mexican government by their highest tribunal decided that the sale of the Ranche of Pena Blanca by the Indians was a nullity (see Excreches page 216, appendix, last edition).
The Indians including this old man are now willing to let the citizens have the land and ask the Government to provide means to give them a title for it.  On this grant there are 371 citizens of whom 30 can read and write.
p.50 Sept 29th
One  thing I noticed with all the Pueblo Indians, they desire to be cleanly but lack the means.
p.51 Oct 1st
There are no citizens on the lands of these Indians, Pueblo of San Felipe.
p.51 Oct 3rd
Pueblo of Santa Ana, they want whip saws to saw lumber and wool cards.  They are industrious and honest.  Rode 16 miles to the Pueblo of Sandia.  No citizens on their land grant except 3 families, who were placed their by Catholic priest who lives at Bernalillo.  186 Indians here, 70 children, 9 orphans.
p.52 Oct 4th
Attending court in Albuquerque for persons tried who have sold whiskey and ammunition to the Apache Indians as they should know better than to encouage the savages to murder and rob for their benefit.
p.52 Oct 6th
Traveled to Pueblo of Laguna.  Their lands were confirmed by Congress June 21, 1860.  On this grant there are the following villages, known as the Pueblo of Laguna:
Santa Ana
Mecito Negro
Casa Blanca
Total 928 Indians, 344 children
p.53 Oct 7th
Traveled to Pueblo of Acoma they are the largest and best physically developed Indians I have seen in New Mexico.
p. 53 Oct 8th
Met Navajo’s Cubero and Sibelleta on the road to El Rito.
p. 54 Oct 14
Went 38 miles today to Socorro.  West of Socorro about 20 miles there is plenty of lands, wood, water, and grass to sustain 3,000 Indians I believe, the best place for a reservation for Southern Apaches.
p. 54 Oct 15
Traveled 35 miles to Fort Craig.
p.56 Oct 20
North of Canada Alamosa met Indians Loco and Victoria, 2 chiefs, and after talking with them they started to find Cochise and bring in the people.
p.56 Oct 21st
Cochise with the captains and Headmen of the different bands of Southern Apaches having council.  790 Indians of the following bands:
Chilicous [Chiricahuas]
Mimbres and Gila bands
Mogollon Bands and Mescaleros
Cochise, who claimed to be head chief of all of the above bands in place of Mangus Colorado who was killed some years ago, spoke in their behalf and said that he had been to Camp Thomas.  He answered that since 1860 he had been to war and sought to justify himself for doing so.  He confessed that he had been guilty of murders and robberies.  Said he had more women and children than he could take care of and fight.
Cochise and his Indians have probably committed more murders and outrages than any other Indians during the last 10 years.
Total miles traveled:3114.5

What is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and how do I become one?

Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS), also formally referred to as Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) or Medical Technologist (MT), provide up to 70% of patient’s test results to physicians so they can provide an accurate diagnosis according to an article titled, “The Value of the Laboratory Professional in the Continuum of Care,” in the Clinical Leadership and Management Review journal.  Many people are unaware that the Medical Laboratory Scientist exist, assuming that a doctor or nurse performed their test, so it is a hidden profession. How does one become a MLS? Let’s start at the beginning. First ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I detailed oriented?
  • Am I very organized?
  • Do I like detective work?
  • Do I like medical science?
  • Do I prefer working behind the scenes away from patients?

Sounds a lot like being a genealogist (minus the healthcare part). These are some of the basic traits that help shape great MLS. Still curious about becoming a laboratory professional? If so, you will need to locate a university that provides a bachelor of science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, or Medical Technology. Many times people overlook this degree because it is not found in the science department of universities but in the Allied Health Profession building. Also make sure the program you select is accredited by The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

There are also programs that offer a two year associate’s degree leading to medical laboratory technician (MLT), or (CLT), designation. What’s the dif between the B.S. vs. the associates beside the obvious 2 years of extensive schooling? 1.) Pay and 2.) The ability for quick advancement in different job roles.

The MLS program is set up like many other Allied Health Professions, offering a 2+2 course structure, where upon the end of your second year you must apply into the clinical portion of your degree. The first two years are spent taking the prerequisite courses that will allow you to gain admission. The prerequisite course work usually consist of:

  • 2 semesters of English
  • 2 semesters of History
  • 2 semesters of  Biology with Labs (not intro)
  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry with Labs (not intro)
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with Labs
  • 2 semesters of Anatomy with Labs
  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • Genetics
  • Some require Physics

Now you’re looking at the list and thinking…wait aren’t these Pre-Med pre- requisites?  And I would say you are correct. Your next question is probably…Why don’t students just get a MLS degree and apply to medical school?  The answer to this is two fold.

  1. Many students that graduate from a medical lab science program do go on to obtain more education. Hence a very large shortage in the workforce.
  2. Many pre-med or biomedical (BMD) undergraduate students that do not get accepted into medical school just do not realize the MLS option exist. Remember being a Medical Laboratory Scientist is a hidden profession 😉

After you have obtained your prerequisites you are now eligible to apply to the clinical part of the MLS program.  Get ready for these courses:

  • Microbiology (+Lab)
  • Biochemistry (+Lab)
  • Immunology (+Lab)
  • Molecular Diagnostics (+Lab)
  • Urinalysis/Body Fluids I (+Lab)
  • Hematology I (+Lab)
  • Hemostasis and Thrombosis (+Lab)
  • Diagnostic Microbiology I (+Lab)
  • Medical Microbiology (+Lab)
  • Serology (+Lab)
  • Immunohematology I
  • Clinical Chemistry I (+Lab)
  • Clinical Chemistry II (+Lab)
  • Special Clinical Topics
  • Clinical Chemistry III
  • Diagnostic Microbiology II
  • Hematology II
  • Immunohematology II
  • Special Clinical Methods
  • Urinalysis/Body Fluids II

Geeze that’s a lot of lab work you say? Well it is in the job title 🙂 Once you get the bulk of this done you are now ready to start your clinical rotations (a.k.a. Free work at the hospitals affiliated with your program). The only way to really learn is by doing. I remember my third year of the program requiring us to take course work in the summer—so be prepared to go straight through once you start. You will probably be doing your clinicals Monday through Friday from 6 or 7 A.M. to 5 ish P.M. You will probably meet in the classroom two times a week in the middle of the week–be assigned a craptacular amount of work on top of what your clinical instructors assigned and be given practicum exams pretty frequently.

Towards the end of the program, a.k.a. graduation!, you’ll want to start studying for your certification with the American Board of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). In order to work in most hospitals you will need to be ASCP certified and depending on which state you want to work in you will also need to acquire your license.  Now let me just say this, getting your certification is not just a one time thing–yes you only take the exam once (hopefully), but your certification is only good for three years. You will be required to maintain your certification every three years by earning 32 CEUs. Once you have done all of this you are now able to sign your name ex: Jane Doe MLS (ASCP)CM.  Now it’s time to head out into the workforce. Check out my next post on, “What types of jobs can Medical Laboratory Scientist do?”